Erica Bauermeister is the author of the bestselling novel The School of Essential Ingredients (Putnam, 2009) which follows the lives of eight students and their teacher in a cooking class held in a restaurant kitchen. Her new novel, Joy for Beginners (Putnam, June 2011) explores what happens to seven women who challenge one another to do one thing in the next year that is new or difficult or scary. The twist? - they don't get to choose their own challenges. Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, has called Joy for Beginners "moving, touching, wonderfully written; inspiring to read." Both of these books may be placed on hold through your local library.